Welcome to another installment of the Play with Class series where we will give you solid steps to run each class for the world’s greatest roleplaying game! For our final installment, we’re taking on one of the most iconic classes of all time: the wizard.
When people think of fantasy roleplaying games, I guarantee a wizard’s image is one of the first things that comes to mind. Wizards are the most versatile of all the spellcasting classes and have remained so through the game’s history. Wizards immerse themselves in the academic aspects of magic and can learn a mind-blowing amount of spells suited for even the most bizarre of occasions. Wizards are so much fun to play, but they require a lot of reading and sifting through spell information to run effectively. If creative problem-solving and character resource management are things you don’t enjoy, you probably want to skip playing a wizard. I often recommend new players choose one of the easier spellcasting classes when first starting, but some people are perfectly suited to play a wizard from the start, so trust your judgment.
Role of the Wizard
Wizards have access to the most extensive spell list of any class, and consequently, there are a hundred different ways to play a wizard. When you begin to create your wizard, think about what kind of magic you want to do, informing the role you have in your party. Do you want to use explosive magic to destroy your foes? Do you want to master defensive magic to buff and protect your allies? Do you want to make yourself a capable frontline fighter? Do you want to be the ultimate situational problem solver? All of these options and more are possible when deciding what kind of role you want your wizard to play in combat. I will take a moment to mention that the “standard” wizard model is to stand in the back and fire your spells from a distance. Because wizards have fewer hit points naturally, you have to invest resources in bulking up a wizard if you want to deviate from that standard model.
Reasons to Play a Wizard
- You have so many more options to solve problems than anyone else.
- With the sheer volume of spells available to you, you get to explore some of the most creative and strange elements the game has to offer.
- Magic is everywhere in this game, and you get to be the expert your party relies on to figure it out.
Combat Crash Course
The difficulty of playing a wizard is to cultivate a spell list that allows you to do everything you want to do. Wizards can cover many different offensive and defensive bases, so you need to choose your spells wisely to be effective.
Cover the Bases
Every level you achieve, you will learn more spells, so your number one job is to make sure you survive to the next level to learn said spells. Learning which spells are best for you to take at the right times requires a commitment to reading through all your options and assessing how a spell will work when you need it. While it may seem fun to grab a collection of the flashiest spells available, it is easy to regret your choices later when you discover they don’t work well for how you play. Selecting the right spells is an art you will get better at with experience.
Picking new spells is the most challenging part of leveling up your wizard. If you follow the guidelines above, you don’t have to worry too much about the other aspects of leveling. So pick the flavorful options that appeal to you! If you are looking for some extra tips, check these out:
- Make sure you take at least one damage cantrip. That way, you’ll always have something to defend yourself with, even if you run out of spell slots.
- Make sure you have at least one solid close-range spell and at least one really long-range spell. This ensures you can keep your options open.
- Make sure you have a mix of spells that use a spell attack roll and spells that require a saving throw. This ensures you have a chance of hitting any enemy.
- Make sure you have a few spells that don’t require concentration and at least one really good spell that does require it. This ensures you achieve your full spellcasting potential.
- Cultivate spells that have different casting times. If you have a mix of spells that require a standard action, a bonus action, and a reaction to cast, you will be able to respond to any problem that comes your way.
- Explore some more interesting subclass options by checking out the elementalist and the white necromancer arcane traditions (see Deep Magic).
- Don’t be afraid to take some feats. Options that allow you to cast your spells more freely or give you some extra hit points as a cushion are helpful compliments to your arcane powers!